Camden 1st XI 2014 Match reports

1st XI Vs HISTON: SEPTEMBER 16TH 1914 - BY JAMES HEYWOOD

Message from the front: Saturday 13th September 1914, Capt. J.Heywood, 1st Bn C.R.A.P

The 1st Battalion of the Camden Regiment of Armoured Personnel finished their campaign on a high on Saturday as they gave the Hist-hun a dam good thrashing. It was a jolly fine end to what has otherwise been a thoroughly miserable year in the trenches.

We started our shelling first. I had WO. Walker-Smith and Pvt Sears take up the first round (Sgt. Edwards was on his last legs) , but such were the conditions out in No-Man's land, their efforts were being returned with interest - bullets were whizzing around everywhere. It wasn't that warm though; Driver Carter, usually so keen to risk being caught in the cross-fire and get out from the dug outs, this time opted to take shelter in a wooden structure to the North West of the main theatre.

Cpl. Khan had the chance to help Sears see one of their big guns off, but the opportunity slipped through. Sears did see the first breakthrough however as he got rid of their commanding officer with the help of Pvt. Hogan. Walker-Smith, who pounded away hard at their off-line got another major breakthrough as one of his shells tore through their defences.

The Hist-hun dug in for a while before Lt. Sutton snared one of them; the man dared ventured too far out of his defensive zone and Walker-Smith was helped to another scalp - a quite extraordinary bit of athleticism it was too; he shall be receiving a recommendation from me to High Command for a medal for 'Ambush of the Campaign'. Cpl Khan relieved Pvt. Sears and immediately one of his grenades took out one of their bigger units with the help of Pvt. Wells. Their commanding officer sent his own brother next into the line and he lived dangerously. Their von-Mynott division couldn't do anything with Khan's attack and the Hun were becoming bogged down. The relentlessness of Walker-Smith's and Khan's barrage eventually told as the junior officer was captured, this time Sgt. Edwards taking him prisoner.

von-Mynott continued to dig in at the other end of the line, but Huns came into the breach and then departed soon after. Pvt. Nickolds followed after Walker-Smith had run out of ammunition. After a nervy initial venture into No-Man's land, he soon felt more accustomed as he homed in on his target and things quietened down a little, all the while managing to keep them hemmed in, Ln.Cpl. Mahendra aiding matters with some useful ground work.

Khan was reaching the end of his ammo, but still sniffed another Hun when suddenly they came on the counter attack and let off a barrage of their own. Shells thundered all around and at one stage I thought our advantage was to be taken back. Pvt. Sears, with the help of Wing Commander Coburn from up high, soon saw the end of that. Eventually, the Hun were all out of men and having to retreat for reinforcements.



'Heywood and the 35 men of the 1st Bn C.R.A.P.'

We too retreated to our dugouts and consumed our rations, where were of the middling sort.

What followed hadn't been seen on the field of battle, not least in this campaign, since May. Lts. Gadsby and Sutton almost single handedly dealt with the Hun offensive. Their first big gun was taken out after just one battery, and their commanding officer was near to ineffective thereafter. The terrain out in No-Man's Land left no margin for error - no shell holes to hide in, no barbed wire, nothing. That we'd done so well earlier in the day was becoming plain to see as bullets from the two men flew everywhere. I watched from a neighbouring dug out to the rest of the men, perhaps that is something I should have done earlier on during our trips in the North; it seemed to work. General Mitchell popped his head in with one of the wheezy boys from matron and left when he was content things were going along smoothly. Gadsby eventually fell on his bayonet with 93 gerries to his name, giving Driver Carter something to do. At 1722h, the Hun surrendered with the battle comprehensively won.

We decamped to a local inn, where-after were convoyed back to HQ and our celebrations at La-Vache-Rouge, our preferred tavern. Whether any of the men decided to venture back to Paris I know not, but they bally well deserved to let their hair down.

It has been a tough summer; several men have been lost, some due to shell shock, others deserting completely. We've suffered some heavy losses, particularly against units in the North and have come under some heavy barrages. I'm jolly proud of the men who have hung in there to the end. Driver Carter deserves special mention: she's been through thick and (mostly) thin throughout the whole campaign and not missed a single battle. She's had to put up with the advances of Lt. Gadsby once again and has seen many men come and go. Lt. Sutton has been terrific also, particularly when we were taking men from the 2nd Battalion at an alarming rate. All that remains to say is that we shall watch the fate of the Regiment with interest as we head back to Blighty for a well deserved leave.

1st XI Vs GODMANCHESTER: SEPTEMBER 9TH 1914 - BY JAMES HEYWOOD

Letter from the front, 6th September, 1914

Just when things couldn't get any worse. Lt. Gardner has been taken back to Blighty, apparently he carelessly exposed himself to sniper fire when playing rackets with one of the men. A replacement couldn't be drafted in time for the big push, so we were already in spot of bother. Word had it that Gardner's previous operations in the Russian Front earlier in the year were to blame, apparently some land owners weren't best pleased at his land grabbing exploits.

Our latest deployment south of the river was a big moment for both sides in this campaign. For some of my men, this would be their last bit of action before things quietened down for the autumn. There is talk of the Regiment being merged with others, or being completely disbanded and so morale continues to be low. Having deserters pay us a visit - whilst pleasant to see old faces - did rather disappoint some of the men.

That all said, we made a decent fist of things. Sgts Edwards and Walker-Smith made superb inroads against their big guns, as von-Patemen, Svanell and Klement were all seen off with little damage caused. Durrant kept their offensive together before Walker-Smith saw him off with a superb bullet from side on. Unfortunately, we conceded to many extras and their total of 173 carrier pigeons for the loss of 10 men was a few too many. Edwards finished with a well deserved 6-gerries, with Cpl Khan picking up a couple of his own.



'Lt. Gardner had to be stretchered away from the front just before the big offensive. When shell shock hits, some will go to desperate lengths to get away from the action.'

Rations were substantial, especially given the 10 men we had.

In response, Lt. Gadsby led from the front. The terrain in no-mans land was particularly rough and there was much running to be done. The veteran campaigner fought well though as he led us to a position of near victory. Private Skinner did particularly well and was desperately unluckly not to collect a couple more as he hit a barbed wire umpire and was denied a couple. That would prove decisive as we fell one short, Skinner being undone by a whizz-bang from Svanell that hit a shell hole and scuttled along to floor to remove his off right leg. If only Lt Gardner hadn't been so careless with those Russians.

1st XI Vs RAMSEY: AUGUST 30TH 1914 - BY JAMES HEYWOOD

News from the front, 30th August, 1914

The unit returned to the north of the line for what was probably their toughest mission of the summer as they travelled to Ramsey, a small settlement situated on a ridge heading in a North-West/South-Easterly direction, making it a particularly hard place to attack. To compound our position, the local combatants had recorded many resounding victories over previous units and were well known for taking no prisoners.

Lt. Gadsby was in charge for this operation as I had some time away from the front. These accounts are therefore second hand. By all accounts, all of our shelling attempts came to little fruition as the opposition returned them with interest. Cpl Khan apparently took a heavy pounding from the West, as did some of our other gun placements.



'Private Turner came under particularly heavy bombardment from the Ramsey guns'

There was no word on the rationing situation.

Lt. Sutton dug in superbly in reply, despite coming under heavy bombardment from all directions. Gadsby was caught in no-mans land as his stay was ended by Marklund and men came and went. At one stage, Cpl Khan and Private Turner looked like they might be able to hold the line until the close. Turner came under some particularly heavy bombardment, but if I didn't know better, he probably deserved it. Unfortunately and inexplicably, Khan decided to unleash one last howitzer. The move backfired and the locals once again secured a victory on their home turf.

The men are shell shocked. News that there are no more deserters at least keeps spirits up a little. Private Wilson sadly has been re-deployed to the south west, so we won't see him again in this campaign.

1st XI Vs SAWSTON: AUGUST 23RD 1914 - BY JAMES HEYWOOD

Message from the front, Saturday 23rd August, 1914, unnamed location south of Cambridge.

I am afraid to say that the men are at their lowest ebb. We received news from high command on Friday night that we to engage the Sawst-hun just South of Cambridge. I was buoyed by news that Lt. Gadbsy was back with the unit after two weeks leave - I hoped he would raise spirits after two heavy hammerings in the far north of the line at Wisbech-sur-Nene and March-en-le-Marais.

As it happens, after we chose to strike first, Lts Gadsby and Sutton did splendidly well; they came under persistent fire from the Hun attack, the barrage from Schmidt was dammed accurate and on one occasion bally well nearly took Gadby's head off. Anyhow, they buckled down and saw us through the worst of it. Von Blanchard tried to put us off by lobbing up some grenades but again we managed to fight fire with fire.

After the return of Sutton to the trenches, Lt. Gardner carried on with Gadsby and took us into a commanding position. As I watched from my dug out, it appeared that No-man's Land was becoming increasingly difficult to attack on, though Private's Hogan & Skinner did their damnedest. For the loss 158 and only 4 guns taken out, it wasn't a bad start to the battle.



'Captain Darling prepares his men for their latest offensive against the Sawst-hun.'

At the half way stage, both sides retreated to the dug outs to recoup with their latest rations' allowance. Word had been sent through from HQ that the troops should expect a good feed and they weren't disappointed. Lt. Gadsby regaled the men with tales of an encounter with one of the locals on his previous placement up the line near March-en-le-Marais. Apparently, the unit's extra special treatment in the rations department in their last engagement there can be pinpointed to such an encounter with Genie. The men, of course, politely informed the returning officer what they thought of this tale.

The resumption of hostilities saw a great start for the men, with the early skirmishes definitely going our way. Lt. Gardner removed the first of their big three heavy artillery units as the big gun Powellberger was taken out of action. The terrain out in no-man's land was very much to Gardner's line of attack, aided by a stiff westerly. Big calls against von Blanchard and some other gun were miraculously not upheld and somehow they were allowed to continue blunting out attack. Corporal Khan, after a superb start, eventually had to be replaced by Bombardier Sears. He took out another Hun with his first attack with the help of Private Hogan and it was here that I thought we were back in the fight.

The Langenlagen howitzer however took the attack back to us and eventually Gardner had to be rushed out for R&R at fine leg. I took the brave move of introducing Private Armstrong into the firing line, but that turned out to be a mistake - Langenlangen returned each of his grenades with interest. By that stage, the fight was nearly over, and Sgt Walker-Smith, continuing gamely along with Sears could do little to halt the inevitable march to our lines. We fought all the way, but the white flags eventually were raised at 6 o'clock.

We have a tough assignment further north next week as we go to Ramsé. Lt. Gadsby will be in charge as I am on leave. I've left it with him that under no circumstances should they breach our lines.

Over & out,

1st XI Vs MARCH: AUGUST 16TH 2014 - BY JAMES HEYWOOD

Camden's fenland mini-tour came to a feeble end as March cruised to a six wicket victory, though not of the variety that would have seen a pleasure boat pootling up and down the same March outfield the previous week.

Captain Darling had little hesitation in opting to bat first on a good March wicket. The conditions would be suitable for the seam and swing of the perennial Camden slayer Steve Seymour, but in principle this would be the case throughout the day. A warding off of the Seymour threat, a posting of a good score and the ability to put their inexperienced middle and lower order under pressure was the order of the day.

Alas, there was not much resistance from the top order as the Seymour threat was not negotiated very well at all - he taking 4 wickets in the opening salvo. With Ringham picking up a further 2, Camden were right in the same mire that was covering the ground the previous week at 37-6 and then 67-8. Enter The Crazy Frog (37) and with the ever impressive Tom Wilson (34), the score was nudged up into the 120s and at least something of a total was given for the bowlers to aim at. Walk and whips, slashing flat bats through point and the front-foot-back-foot drive were all in the Frog's repertoire as the Charge of the (not so) light brigade saw a counter attacking punch back to the March bowlers. Seymour had his 5th wicket as Ali Khan eventually succumbed to a super catch by James Harradine in the gully.



'Ali Khan (right) took the attack back to the March seamers with his unique brand of stroke play. His throwing from the north side of the ground was something to behold also (left)'

Tea was really very good indeed. Some disagreement in the ranks, particularly between the officianados Skinner and Sutton as to whether this beat the Warboys effort, came to pass. Sutton, as official adjudicator, came down on the Huntingdonshire side, the failure of March to supply a hidden trifle course probably doing for them. A very good effort though.

In reply, Tom Wilson was naggingly accurate and bowling with superb skill - getting movement both ways and not at a shabby pace - quickly did for Howgego as he nicked off. Hodson followed as he was bowled. Shaw took a liking for the shower attachment early fare of Sears, but Wilson provided the foil at the other end to claim Mills with his third wicket and the score 44-3.

The returning Krang, his first game after 7 weeks out with a dodgy robot body, returned to the fray with some initial stiffness. He eventually warmed to the task and had Seymour caught behind to take the score to 64-4 and with inexperience in the lower order, a game on. Sears returned from the other end after Wilson was prised from the bowling crease and was once again very effective at the other end. With Shaw well set, but becalmed, and always the chance of a wicket at the other end, the moment was right for Camden.

Alas, a dropped chance in the gully of Sears and with Sutton's concrete lined shoes preventing him taking a chance of Armstrong in consecutive overs effectively ended the game for Camden, as Shaw saw his men home with millions of overs still left in the day.

1st XI Vs WISBECH: AUGUST 9TH 2014 - BY JAMES HEYWOOD

The day ended much as it had started - a (very) damp squib. Torrential rain of the Moses/Israelites variety pounded Cambridgeshire the previous evening and left March's game vs Goddy underwater. Naturally, Wisbech sniffed an opportunity to take points off a beleagured Camden and duly obliged, winning by 100 runs.

A delayed start, with some moist areas of the field scattered with some stiff Camden bodies as many spent well over and hour and a half in their vehicles negotiating the flooded streets of Wisbech, saw Wisbech asked to bat first. Only Tom Wilson was able to put the ball in the correct spot as he had Gary Freear caught behind. Sears started with some spray gun stuff before he followed on from Wilson with greater effect. Mike Wells bowled decently again, though with attacking fields and attacking strokeplay from Burton, the score whistled on.

Sears then removed Burton for 49 and thereafter wickets fell at fairly regular intervals, though not quite as frequently as would have been preferred. All the Wisbech top order made starts before being undone by a two paced pitch. Sears' second spell in particular was a highlight as he picked up the wickets of Burton, Bowers and some other. Ali Khan toiled away at the other end and was a little inconistent with his line, thus proving expensive. Enter into the fray Alec Armstrong. Previous having the ignominy of having the suggestion of taking 2 to his arm, he took 2 of his own as he had the perennially grumpy James Williams palpably lbw and did for Simon Freear with a leg break. During this time, Alex Sears meanwhile had his own 2, though this was off the field variety as the Lincolnshire born seamer scuttled off to lighten the load. Eventually, with Tom Wilson ending with a deserved 3-fer of his own, Wisbech declared with 213 in 42 overs.



'The Wisbech players had been up since 0800h to prepare the ground'

Tea was pretty good, well done.

In reply, Sutton hit the shot of the day of Ram Sippington, after which fill in opener Heywood fell - literally - over one to be bowled by Apted. A sturdy partnership between Sears and Sutton ensued, with Williams' grumpiness continuing as he objected to the posh batting of Sears in particular. After both fell, something of a procession ensued.

Critoph, with a return to Camden colours, was unable to stop the rot as Simon Freear ended with a handful. A last wicket partnership between the impressive Armstrong and Hoole delayed the inevitable and the game was wrapped up before bed time.

1st XI Vs NCI: AUGUST 2ND 2014 - BY JAMES HEYWOOD

If you can read this, you are doing well. The author has just been blubbing over his tablet and can barely read the text underneath the puddles of tears on the screen. Today marked a very sad day indeed for Camden, as Trevor Munns went into retirement from Saturday League cricket, having just signed new contracts with Timotei and Babyliss.

Starved of his premier swing bowler Tom Wilson, Captain Darling had little option but to bowl first in an attempt to limit the target to chase for later. Sears ran in manfully, but would be honest in saying that he sprayed it everywhere. Mike Wells, now the undisputed club 'Wellsy' as his namesake Nick upped sticks and left the previous week, bowled superbly for 3 wickets and kept things nice and quiet. As an aside, Saffron Walden is now the beneficiary of the latter Wells' gingerness. It's all right though, we've still got plenty of our own in the form of Wells mk2, Sutton and the captain himself. .

Toyota Rav4 bowled superbly for his first spell and managed to keep a lid on proceedings. Wickets fell, including a remarkable catch off Gadsby at short fine leg, Captain Heywood as the resident zoologist naming the new species of Salmon as Salmo bollywoodi as an Ali Khan like figure leaped in slow motion to his left to take a stunner. This and other dismissals brought Messrs Scully and McDonnell to the wicket, complete with spray on whites and a whiff of the boundaries. Sears, Gadsby, the returning Wells and Mahendra all copped a series of blows as the target reached 200. Poor Danny Hoole, drafted in at short notice, was pressed into action for the last over of the innings.



'Ravi Mahendra makes a last ditch effort to be signed for Cambridge United as he slotted a beautiful right footer to short leg'

The final tea at Pembroke, with the now commonplace array of sandwiches and enormous cakes was consumed without incident.

In reply, Munns was tasked with nursing one of his newly opened DoomBars for the duration of Gadsby's innings. He didn't have to wait long as the latter was seen away by Evan Warren. Munns, keen to get stuck into the beers was thrilled, Gadsby not so as he allegedly hadn't got anywhere near it. Sutton and Gardner batted nicely before the former made way for Sears. He and Gardner took Camden to within touching distance before mayhem broke loose and things turned fishy. Turning down any quick singles on account of a dodgy hammy, Gardner did Sears up like a kipper as the he suddenly decided he wanted a run. Sears was left floundering, the soles of his shoes planted firmly at the non-striker and in disar-ray as he was sent back to the plaice from whence he came. NCI, sniffing their chance got rid of Hulk Hogan, Mike Wells and SG in quick succession to leave Camden with the new men Skinner and Heywood at the crease. Excellent shots from both took the equation to 7 needed off the last over and Mahendra and Skin-dog at the crease and 7 wickets down.

What happened next will probably never happen again, certainly not at Pembroke. Rav4 shovelled a delivery from seamer Jackson Fry in front of him and promptly kicked it away as he set off for a run. Warren had little hesitation in giving him out obstructing the field and Mahendra stormed off with threats of a behind-the-bike-shed scuffle coming from various fielders. Hoole and Khan fell to excellent yorkers and that was it.

1st XI Vs WARBOUYS: JULY 26TH 2014 - BY JAMES HEYWOOD

When the proverbial hits the fan, a little bit always tends to flick out and hit you in the face. That was certainly the feeling as Warblys stormed to an 8 wicket victory on a blistering hot day, despite having most of the best conditions against them.

Electing to bat first on a good looking wicket and in 30 degrees, Camden seemed to have all the trump cards. The only trumping however was sounded by the Warboys bugler as they ripped through the Camden top order, 4 of the first 5 wickets falling being bowled. Wells(23) put on 50 odd with Gadsby, who was later joined by Heywood (20) for another crucial 50 run partnership. .

One eye on a festival over 50s day in Yorkshire, Gadbsy got out and was quickly followed by Skinner, Heywood and Nickolds, leaving Camden 50 short on a flat one.



'Gadsby's history lesson was lost on many of the younger players'

Tea was simply magnificent, a table topping performance.

Wilson & Sears reduced he home lot to 2 down with some aggressive and accurate swing and seam bowling. As ever, the ECB got in on the act as Wells and Nickolds were pressed into service in a holding roll. The Camden catching, so good in previous weeks let them down as Cooksey was dropped twice in successive deliveries.

Starved of genuine strike bowling for 15 overs, Heywood rotated things around whilst the Warboys batters made the pie way calmly to the victory target, the reintroduction of Sears and Wilson made no inroads,p and the catch dropping bug had spread the Captain Darling as he too put Cooksey down with Warblys within 35 of the end. Alas, no more chopping and changing, not to mention the threat of lightning could influence proceedings and Warboys met their target at a canter.

1st XI Vs FOXTON: JULY 19TH 2014 - BY JAMES HEYWOOD

Following the excellent fight displayed by the Camden men at Nassington, things were looking up for the beleaguered Cambridge men. As if struck by a lightning bolt from upon high, many of these hopes were blown away as Dodgy Garnder was out of the attack after only 11 balls, his hamstring niggle turning into a full blown tear. Mike Wells stepped dutifully into the breach and bowled well under trying circumstances. Gardener eventually returned to the field in the form of a rising bollard, popping up at intervals no more than 5 metres from the bat.

Tom Wilson bowled superbly again, though was whipped off by the ECB just as he was looking at his most threatening. Ali Khan bowled with good pace and drift and was probably taken off a little earlier than his worth. Wells and Gadsby toiled away at the other end, but a bad ball an over allowed Foxton to progress on. At 110 off 33, things were looking good for Camden. Sanderson however had other ideas, aided by some good old fashioned late over biffing from Schaw saw them to 220, Sanderson ending on a red hundred. .



'The only moving by Simon Gardner that day was of the vertical variety, popping up at intervals no more than 5 metres from the bat'

Camden, as ever struggled early as they limped to 45-5. Captain Darling and Wilson put on a sizeable partnership, to followed by a near 100 pairing with Mike Wells. Aided by some attacking fields and excellent shot selection, Wells made his way to 58 and Wilson to 38. The final total of 199 was slightly flattering to the home team, but much heart can be taken from this batting performance.

1st XI Vs NASSINGTON: JULY 12TH 2014 - BY JAMES HEYWOOD

For first time in living memory, the sun shone at Nassington, though it made little impact on Camden's fortunes as yet another loss was recorded.

With Phil Swedewards' continued absence with an injury ranging in seriousness from a sprain to a broken ankle, the bowling was lead again by the impresive Tom Wilson. Actually, all the seamers took advantage of the turgid conditions as they restricted Nassington to 154, a serious effort after they registered 45-1 after 10 overs. Walker-Smith and Gardner were the pick of the bowlers as both were at a miserly best. Only Areeq Apee was able to counter the stymying effects of both, but still succumbed to Lookingfora Gardner. Rav4 picked up a couple of filthy wickets and the Camden catching was tip tip. The ground fielding wasn't however up to scratch, with overthrows and concentration lapses accounting for 30 or so runs leaked. .

I'm afraid the tea did not match the usual high standards we have come to expect from Nassington, thought the clementines were very good indeed.



'The Nassington tea, so good in previous summers, failed to live up to its billing'

In response, Sutton and Gardner went about the chase in methodical fashion before Pope surrounded one at short leg to remove Sutton. Wells played a bizarre shot, but Hogan came in and played superbly, peppering the short straight boundaries.

Alas, another miniature collapse was instigated as he ran out Gardner, the latter ploughing through treacle to be several frames out. Gadsby failed to get things going and Captain Darling was left to chase down the remaining 50 with Doug Turner freshly at the crease.

Turner chanced his arm and his some excellent blows into the rape field, whilst Heywood looked rather more circumspect. Turner eventually fell for a swashbuckling 20 odd. Wilson entered the fray and together with the captain looked like the total was but a formality. Alas, both he and the aforementioned fell and Camden fell 30 short. If only for those overthrows...

1st XI Vs WARESLEY: JULY 5TH 2014 - BY JAMES HEYWOOD

The return of Captain Darling to the playing and now leadership ranks saw no let up in the losing habit as Waresley won by 10 wickets.

Fielding only 10 men for all but the last 15 minutes, Skipper Heywood got it all wrong as he tried to manipulate the odds far beyond his worth. With Stillineedova Gardner tied up at a speech day, Heywood elected to bat first with the hope of a late arrival from the retired tycoon to biff a few late order runs and then bowl his regulation 16 overs. Alas, he only managed 3 overs as he arrived to see Camden defending only 66 and already with Waresley off to a flier.

Early seam movement accounted for Gadsby, Wells, whereas in judicious strokeplay accounted for all of the others. Whilst it was a bit damp, this was definitely not a 66 all out job.

1st XI Vs HISTON: JUNE 28TH 2014 - BY JAMES HEYWOOD

Gadsby again was in charge as Darling was eking out his back problem. It rained though, so no massive problem there. Basically, Histon got off to a flier before the Duke made his appearance. Umpire Coburn had little hesitation in calling off the game, though not after an early and hearty tea was had.



'Umpire Keith Coburn sniffed an early finish, though not before tea had been taken'

1st XI Vs GODMANCHESTER: JUNE 21st 2014 - BY JAMES HEYWOOD

Veteran agriculturalist Nigel Gadsby once again took the reins as newly 'appointed' captain Darling was out of action with a bad back, not even a week of intensive therapy on the groundsman's ball being enough to get him fit.

Camden reduced Goddy to 60-8, mirroring their impressive efforts against Ramsey the previous week. Danger men Batt Davies-Minge, Captain Pies and Brayne Wadley were all dismissed cheaply, but a 50 from number 9 from Simon Rose took the visitors to 138. Tom Wilson bowled magnificently for his 5-17.

I suppose tea was the normal, solid self.

'The photographer also had a bad back'

In return, Goddy were all over Camden like a Nick Wells jock rash. Adhav and Baldwin provided no let up as the home team were rolled out for 38, Adhav ending up with 7 wickets. Not much else to talk about really.

1st XI Vs MARCH: JUNE 7TH 2014 - BY JAMES HEYWOOD

Despite a weakening of table topping, south Cambs, green and yellow shirted Sawston - the side missing new ball bowlers Pledger and Campbell - the only weakness visible was that from a flaky Camden batting effort. Earlier, rain had groundsmen, scorers and generally everyone on the blower, but such was the dominance of the display, an early finish was still reached.

As Vladimir Gardner got his chest out and hatched plans to annex West Cambridgeshire, his team mates were bowled out for 117 as de facto captain Darling won the toss and batted. The bowlers just didn't have enough to bowl at for the second time in as many weeks. Only the efforts of the evergreen Nigel Gadsby ensured a total of over 100, as all around him played extravagantly and dispensed with their wickets like a snotty tissue, certainly no claims could be made that early use of a recently covered strip and moist atmosphere could be blamed. Vaughan Blanchard picked up his customary and frustrating 4 wickets, combined a greater variance in pace and trajectory than ever before. Second team replacements did their bit in the absence of Pledger and Campbell, taking 3 wickets between them and going for not many in their combined tally of 24 overs.

Tea was once again pretty good, the coronation chicken sandwiches going down very well indeed.



'The political landscape before and after the Gardner annexation of West Cambridgeshire'

In an attempt to take advantage of the visibly weakened Sawston batting line up Camden needed early wickets, and Charlie Walker-Smith ensured as much as he nicked off an opener for 0. Phil Swedewards was desperately unlucky not to claim the wicket of Sam Powell as the latter skewed endlessly into the ever decreasing number of gaps in the point to third man arc. Fly slips, 3.5 slips, two gullies - you name it, a fielder was stationed there, yet the ball somehow found its way past or over them.

The ever dependable Blanchard meanwhile found scoring difficult as the new ball pairing stifled him of runs and eventually Pony had him trapped lbw. Quite why the batsman thought it appropriate to make enquiries with the umpire on his way back to the shed was beyond most of us, particularly as the very same gentleman had allowed him to bowl unchanged for 16 overs without questionning the legality of any delivery.

Mahendra claimed the wicket of Powell as the latter used one half of his bat once too many times, inside edging onto leg stump. Debutant Will Chambers made a promising start with 2 overs before going in the groin and despite the rallying call for wickets, it was VB and his team-mates who had the final word as skipper Ellis and Langer steered them home.

It will be all hands to the pump for the side to face Ramsey this weekend.

1st XI Vs MARCH: MAY 31ST 2014 - BY JAMES HEYWOOD

Camden were unable to capitalise on their win against NCI as they lost by 5 wickets to March. It is conceivable that a dropped catch and a return crease transgression might be deemed the ultimate cause (the dual offender has been appropriately smacked on the bottom). However, a total of 142 might also be partly to blame, particularly as several batsmen got themselves to 20 and got out.

On a dank, clammy, moist day at PCCG (yes, all of the above), March took advantage of the early bowler friendly conditions to remove skipper Johnson (caught behind) and Simon Hughes (bowled) in quick succession. Alex Sears (the aforementioned naughty boy) came and went as Mike Wells - standing in ably for the absent Gadsby (something about a horse apparently) - looked on. Wells eventually departed as Seymour Swing was introduced. Another Wells came in and along with Hogan upped the rate of things with some fluent stroke play. Both were dismissed, Hogan eventually for a top score of 31 before Capt. Darling and Corporal Skinner added 40 for the 8th wicket. Both again fell in quick succession, with the recently drafted in Munns finishing not out.

Tea was superb, Camden are now genuinely in the running for the Tuck Into The Gardner Tea League!



'Simon Gardner reeled of miserly figures once again and his presence will be missed as he disappears for a two week fishing holiday in Russia.'

In reply, two separate games of cricket ensued, with Callum Youngs timing the pace of Alex Sears to some strange parts of the ground in an extraordinary fashion, while Budd tried to blossom at the other end, only to be nipped repeatedly by the stymying medium pace of the Gardner. Sears eventually got his man, and shortly followed it up with a second.

Budd and Seymour put on a decent 3rd wicket partnership, though the latter visibly struggled on a slow wicket, once pulling to mid-off after a return crease no-ball from Sears, and twice again clothing it to the vacant areas off the same shot. It would seem that his stay at the crease would be curtailed as he spooned a catch to cover. Sears leapt, hung for a while, took the ball before gravity forced it from his grasp as his elbows hit the deck. To Sears' credit, he did not blame the ensuing damp conditions and slippery ball (though they were in evidence all around the ground), as light mizzle plagued the Camden bowling effort. Rav4 struggled to grip the now swollen grapefruit that masqueraded as a ball and the seamers were the only ones really able to bowl properly.

Seymour eventually went after a good catch from Nightona Benda at mid-wicket to end what was a tortuous innings. Budd followed as Gardner hit his off pole and two new faces were seen at the crease. Alas, March squeezed home by 5 wickets as Camden were unable to maintain the pressure that came from the Gardner end - his figures of 17-8-26-2 being a stand out performance with the ball.

1st XI Vs MARCH: MAY 17TH 2014 - BY JAMES HEYWOOD

Camden recorded their first win of the season with a good old fashioned 'pulling down of the trousers and a darn good thrashing' sort, beating local rivals NCI by 9 wickets on a fine day at Fitzwilliam.

After the resignation of Algotuda Zutuseedallamas midweek, a move forced upon him by the local media and match report writers after it transpired that a nickname had been used more than once, Camden were in danger of having their soft under belly exposed by the recently re-un-relegated NCI. Alas, no such exposure was made, either by the outgoing captain or the home team as NCI were only able to dominate for 10 overs of the entire match.

Phil Swedewards did the damage for Camden as he took 6 wickets, ending with figures of 16-4-20-6; some proper ones two, couple of nick offs, lbw-donkers and bowled. None of this caught in the outfield nonsense any way. Blututhmobiledevica also chipped in with 2 wickets of his own in what was to become his last bowling performance for the club. Tailenders Fry and Copper however notched 30s as the back up spin of Toyota Rav4 and stand in skipper Johnson conceded 63 from their 12 combined overs.



'Alex Newtucumarana cited having another tadpole as a reason for his resignation.'

In reply, Jackson Fry steamed from the 5-a-side football end, with as much huffing and puffing coming the other end as the belligerent Mutu came at him hard. The ball raced to the boundary as both Mutu and Gadsby used the extra pace to their advantage. Alas, it was to be the non-pace of Ian Osbourne that was to see the end of Newtu's Camden career as he chipped one to cover. We wish you luck in your future cricketing endeavours Alex (that is his real name by the way), but if you think you've escaped the slow decks and medium paced bowlers by buggering off to play for someone else, then I am afraid I've got some bad news...

James Johnson came to the crease, slightly upset that he had to leave Ravi behind on the sidelines. He too set about the bowling with aplomb and with the veteran Gadsby added 106 for the second wicket to steer Camden to a much needed and deserved victory, both ending with not out 50s to their name.

1st XI Vs WARBOYS: MAY 10TH 2014 - BY JAMES HEYWOOD

Camden were unable to claim their first victory in what was a thrilling game of cricket against newly promoted Warboys.

Camden welcomed Alex Sears to their ranks for what is hoped is the first of many games for the club. In spite of his best efforts and figures of 5-52, Warboys just scraped over the line in their pursuit of 167 for victory. With seemingly the game only going one of two ways at 122-8 and 139-9, the final pairing of Old Trafford and Jack Skidmark batted fearlessly to add the remaining 28 runs. Earlier in the innings, only opener Wright, skipper Duncan had batted with any degree of permanency, all batsman struggling to cope with the extra zip of Sears. Whitfield, earlier collecting 4-45 added impetus and looked dangerous before he too was dismissed by Sears, caught ably by Brendan Nash, masquerading as Mike Wells in the gully.



'Nigel Gadsby couldn't help but dive into the crisps well before the tea break.'

Earlier that day, Camden were found in their usual precarious position as batsmen came and went, the score reaching 53-5. Hulk Hogan and Yozzer Gardner but on 54 for the 6th wicket as both repelled the combined threat of Witfield, Cooksey and whoever else was bowling during that time. Gardner decided he'd had enough and that it was someone else's turn so he ran past one and Wells and Edwards both fell shortly afterwards. Capt. Darling came to the crease, and with the retired WWF star added 35 for the 9th wicket, Hogan ending on a top scoring 51 not out.

A note about tea, pretty average, but definitely not aided by the crisp theft of many a Camden player, especially Nigel Gadsby, who should really have known better.

1st XI Vs FOXTON: MAY 3RD 2014 - BY JAMES HEYWOOD

Iprefer Ubuntutowindows will be thinking of binning the axe threatened midweek and taking up a sledgehammer to his players as they somehow contrived to throw away a good half-time position at Gray's sports ground, Foxton.

Needing 200 to win, Foxton's opening pair of Hunter and Sanderson made light work of Camden's seam attack, thrashing boundaries all over the place as they came home well within the 36 over mark, Hunter making an undefeated 99. Both were dropped however as a positively geriatric Camden XI (average age of 32.5) were run ragger. Nevertheless, Hunter showed decent concentration to steer them to the 10 wicket win, though not every person on the ground that day thought as much.

Swedewards, despite his earlier batting exploits, bore the brunt of the assault as his over pitched fare was sent to the pavilion side boundary. Even a change of ends couldn't inspire a drag back in length and the Kent seamer was sent off to the covers with his dunces hat to think hard about what a naughty boy he had been.



'Two members of an ageing Camden XI warm up before their defeat to Foxton'

Stillneeda Gardner's introduction naturally resulted in a reduction of run scoring tempo - though only from one end - as Swedewards' tortuous spell continued from the Church end, the letter eventually conceding 61 from his 7. Pony Walker-Smith faired little better. Even the by now furious Ubuntu rampaging in from the Church End couldn't stem the flow, though he managed to generate some nip and movement not seen from his end since he last had a sauna. David Noble was the least expensive, though he still went at £4.25 a pint for his spell, in which he was reduced to half run up after some sort of injury (some things never change) and keeper up. In short, it was a horrid display.

Earlier, Camden reached 200, a huge boost given the recent run troubles. A solid foundation was laid by Kim Barnett and Kim Something (someone will have to explain this to me), taking the WD40d up Darren Cousins for 4 an over with calculated and well executed driving through the off side. Eventually, Cousins dislodged Barnett by almost dislodging the famous white lid as the latter ducked into a bouncer. Ubuntu steered the probing pitching of Tyler Deas to gully to take the score to 48-2. A 42 run partnership between Johnson and Gardner then saw what looked like the commencement of another Camden Classic Collapse. However, Nightona Benda - late by 10 overs - took the attack to the bowling, playing the spin of Schaw with caution, but being dismissing anything on his legs and being particular severe through the mid on area. The one legged Wells came and went, and a after some support from Hulk Hogan, another small collapse - Heywood pulling another half-volley - Benda was threatened with being stranded at the other end. Phil Swedewards however came to the fore with 28 not out, with 5 boundaries. Benda ended unbeaten on 53, including 2 sixes and there was much to look forward to, the pitch still having a tinge of green and a new ball beckoning...

1st XI Vs NASSINGTON: APRIL 26TH 2014 - BY JAMES HEYWOOD

Camden came away from this annual bogey match with only a modicum of pride as they narrowly avoided defeat to Nassington.

With Omar Laud now in charge at the Northants club, the opportunity for a lot of letters at the toss - Mutucumarana and Bandaranaike being the previous crowd favourite - now a thing of the past. As it was, the one with the most letters won and elected to bowl on a wicket with some early morning grease.

Alas, there was no grease from the returning Phil Edwards as he struggled to make early inroads, instead spending much of the innings fixing his equipment that had lain dormant in the garage. He eventually got the wicket of Ahmed after a change of ends and Camden settled into a spell of quiet. Liam McKeown was introduced and found the going tough. In amongst some wayward fare, some excellent deliveries were produced and had the edge off Robinson been taken at slip, the game may well have gone rather differently. As it was, the youngster was blowing after his 5 overs.



'James Heywood applies the sterilisation technique to his innings, whilst Nigel Gadsby - the discoverer of the method in 1867 - looks on.'

Garder, as ever, kept things tight and the introduction of debutant Izonhand Khan appeared to put the brakes on a little. Khan however was deceptively expensive his 11 overs going for 50 as Daniel Robinson - who batted superbly for 75* - put away anything loose. The dismissal of Gary Scotchegg and latterly former PLO leader Tariq Aziz really stifled things as James Johnson fired a lot down the back side, Alex Bandaranaike finding things particularly difficult. An explosive 23 from Norman Thomas - including one of the biggest sixes seen at the ground off Gardner - gave Nassington an extra few than Camden would have preferred.

In response, Camden saw off the old ball pairing (yes, it is still there) of Sicklaq and the other Bandaranaike and at the half way point were on par with Nassington, though Gadsby and Johnson had departed for patient 30s. Mutu was fired up, so much so that he gently flicked one into the arms of Balloon Basher at fine leg and so the Camden collapse begun. From 71-2 to 97-7, the prospect of victory not so much ebbed, but sped away like a bullet train as Balloon Basher picked up a rapid 4 wickets. Heywood, by this time over his jet-lag batted in the most sterile fashion possible as he removed all signs of pus from the remaining 10 overs, finishing on 7 off 40 balls and the innings ending on 109-9.

Mutu's men travel to Foxton where CEN reporters will be hanging on every word from the Camden captain.

1st XI Vs WARESLEY: APRIL 19TH 2014 - BY JAMES HEYWOOD

Returning to the scene of the 2013 season turn around, captain Excel Mutucumarana would have been sucking an air of confidence out of the fresh Easter westerlies. Despite a similar situation - runs (some at least) on the board and a dry pitch with off spin in the ranks - Camden lost by 3 wickets in their first game of the year.

Batting first, Microsoft's new PR man had no hesitation in batting first. The returning Kim Barnett after nearly career ending knee surgery and the one-game help of Richard Kauffman started Camden's account. Mutu followed Kauffman and together with Barnett put on 63 for the second wicket before Nigel kicked one; the league secretary having no hesitation. The former league sponsor and now un-employed reprobate Imnowa Gardner put on 49 with Captain Mutu as the latter reached his 55 in 100 balls on a wicket with uneven bounce. Nigel BJ bowled tightly as ever and took the wicket of Mutu as he attempted a lap sweep from the return crease. The rate slowed considerably as Gardner eased his way back into things. Wickets started falling at the other end as the late innings need for runs came to the fore-front of everyone’s mind. Skinner (eyeing up the Waresley mars bar challenge - more in a moment), Wells (having just only reintroduced himself to his gear that morning) and Heywood (thought it was Sunday having just got off a plane from the far east) all stodged things up wonderfully for the home team, and granted NBJ his 5 wickets. Camden eventually finished 168-7.



'Guy Skinner limbers up before his 5 fer.'

Tea was good, thanks. I have seen it better at this ground however, though a very good early season bench mark that will take some beating.

Waresley's reply was cautious, the returning Walker-Smith bowling a channel outside off stump (occasionally quite a way outside in fact). The introduction of Tom Wilson however stirred the Camden dragon as he produced two wickets in two to remove the Donald brothers. Tom's return of 2-24 from 7 was easily the most promising bowling of the day, away shape and excellent lengths made Gardner consider a chartered helicopter from Bristol every Friday. A third wicket with only 32 on the board put Camden right in the driving seat before Farraway - a combined human chimaera consisting of James Dallaway (75* - a very good innings) and Dominic Farr (29) - put on 75 for the 4th wicket. Kauffman eventually entered the fray with his off breaks, and picked up 3-50 as he and Garnder precipitated a middle order collapse to take them 143-7. Alas, the remaining Dallaway remained calm and steered his team over the line with Bloodsucking Tickney 10* at the other end.

Other figures include Guy Skinner's 5 for 4. Skinner laid down a bench mark for the 5 mars bar in 7 minute challenge. Pundits are eagerly awaiting the advent of Godmanchester Rovers at Waresley.